by Aoibheann Schwartz
  • 3 minute read
  • May 17, 2022
Dubai’s Isola Ristorante Features An NFT Artwork By This Palestinian Artist

In the idyllic setting of Jumeirah Islands Clubhouse, digital art has found its way into the décor of one of Dubai’s most charming Mediterranean restaurants. Isola Ristorante is the very first dining venue in the region to feature NFT artworks, showcasing a two-piece collection by Palestinian artist Nabil Anani.

An interior view of Isola Ristorante

The display has been curated by the MORROW Collective, an NFT curatorial platform and consultancy based in Dubai that worked with Zawyeh Gallery and Sunset Hospitality Group to integrate NFTs into the restaurant. Claire Harris of the MORROW Collective says that the display at Isola Ristorante represents the first of its kind in the region. “Creating new and interactive experiences using art, NFTs and blockchain technology is an exciting space to be working in, and we’re looking forward to exploring this further in the hospitality industry,” she shares.

Nabil Anani. In Pursuit of Utopia #4. Mixed media on canvas. 95.5×85.5cm. Courtesy of MORROW Collective

Each painting depicts the picturesque landscape of the rural countryside and fields of Palestine, taking inspiration from the artist’s memories of his childhood growing up in the hills of Halhoul. The pieces form part of his In Pursuit of Utopia artwork series, which paints the Palestinian scenery without interruptions like bypass roads, roadblocks, walls, and watchtowers.

Any trace of human presence is absent—instead, the viewer’s gaze follows a scene of carefully trimmed greenery, olive groves and Cyprus trees, laid neatly across purple slopes that merge into bronze wheat fields. This perspective and choice of colour bring a distinctively natural and authentic feel to what’s inherently a digital creation.

NFTs allow a physical piece of art to spring to life, bringing a new experience and ways for customers to engage with art.
Claire Harris, founder of MORROW Collective

“We selected Nabil Anani because of the strong imagery of nature in his work that’s highly suited to the Mediterranean influences of Isola,” explains Claire. A key founder of the contemporary Palestinian art movement, Nabil’s collection shows how art can adapt to the changes that technology inevitably brings, while maintaining the authenticity of that art- work and reflecting on the original vision of its maker.

The paintings at Isola offer an interactive as well as digital experience to diners, transporting them straight into the scenic terrain. Place your phone camera in front of the painting and watch as the pastel landscape of rolling hills and trees moves like a carousel across your screen. This is much more than scanning a QR code for a menu—this is the future of art and gallery displays as it’s transforming the dining experience, one NFT at a time.

Nabil Anani. In Pursuit of Utopia #5. Mixed media on canvas. 100x125cm. Courtesy of MORROW Collective

NFTs are becoming increasingly prominent and popular in art, design, and fashion. In their essence, they’re irreplaceable digital assets that can be sold and bought online. Stored on blockchain technology, their value and worth lie in their one-of-a-kind nature, from paintings like Nabil’s to clothing, tweets, games, poetry, and music.

“NFTs allow a physical piece of art to spring to life, bringing a new experience and ways for customers to engage with art in the relaxing atmosphere of a restaurant. They allow people to see how digital art can exist tangibly,” notes Claire. This is a powerful bridge between the traditional and NFT art worlds and leverages the creative potential of crypto technology, not just in an art gallery, but also in the dining and living spaces of our daily lives. 

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